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Traditional Wedding Vows

So, it's time to think about what style of vows you want at your wedding!

You’ve planned your wedding. You’ve confirmed your guest list. You’ve booked the hall and ordered your flowers.

Now it’s time to think about your vows.

Whatever your culture, religion, or background, your wedding vows are one of the most important parts of your ceremony.

Some opt for contemporary proclamations of their loves. Others choose to make use of time-honoured, traditional wedding vows.

These vows have been spoken – and honoured - by millions. They have been recited by your parents and grandparents, and may one day be spoken by your future children.

Incorporating traditional vows into your wedding day by no means shows a lack of creativity – instead it shows the importance of tradition.

You’ve probably heard these words at many weddings you’ve attended, and you (and your guests) associate these vows with the tradition of marriage.

Or, maybe you are a private (or shy!) couple who would prefer to exchange your intimate thoughts in private! Whatever the case, choosing to utilize traditional vows is a part of what makes your wedding special to you.

Depending on your religion, denomination, and culture, your vows will vary. Today’s vows typically combine two parts: the declaration of intent (Do you, ___, take thee....) and the vows (think “ sickness and in health...”).

Together, these few minutes of verbal exchange will bind you and your fiancé in holy matrimony. After you have spoken your vows, your officiator will pronounce you “man and wife,” and (congratulations!) you are officially a married couple. Typically, the wedding vows are preceded by an introduction, and are followed by the exchange of rings.

If you like the idea of traditional vows, but don’t agree with certain words or parts, you can speak to the person who will be marrying you to make slight adjustments (the word “obey” might pop up a little too often for your liking!). After all, it is your special day, and you want to be able to speak your vows from your heart. Depending on where you choose to say your vows, you may be able to make some adjustments to better reflect your own values.

If you like the idea of traditional vows, but don’t consider yourself to be a completely traditional couple, you may consider saying the traditional vows, in a non-traditional setting, such as getting married on a sailboat or in a field of daisies.

Or, speak your vows traditionally but then make special toasts to each other later. There is always a way to keep both parties happy – especially on your wedding day!

A candle ceremony can often be added to traditional vows, as you each hold a candle and a light a third “unity” candle with them, representing your union. This ceremony can also be performed with sand. There are certainly ways that you can creatively incorporate traditional vows in non-traditional ways!

Your vows may be traditional – but that doesn’t mean you can’t express yourself in other parts of your wedding! From decor to food, from your cake to your music selection, your wedding day can as involved as you wish to make it!

Adding personal touches here and there will make it a day to remember...for you and your guests! You can even add the element of your vows to other areas of your wedding, and use the traditional words as a theme. Picture a cake with “To have and to hold” scrolled across it, or programs that read “For richer, for poorer, for better, for worse...” fading into the background.

Many couples spend hours choosing their wedding-day attire, days debating musical choices, and weeks deliberating over venues.

At the end of the day though, be sure you spend just enough time thinking about your vows.

Even if you go 100% traditional, it is wise to take some time either together or on your own, to truly think about and understand the words you will be reciting on your big day.

After all, they are not just words – they are a vow and promise to each other as you enter the sanctity of marriage.

The Traditional Ceremony

The traditional wedding ceremony vows starts with the couple being asked:-

Do you, (Name), take (Name), to be your (wife/husband)?" (Groom/Bride
Response) "I do."

The following words are said first by the groom, and then by the bride:-

I, (Full Name), take you, (Full Name),
To be my (wife/husband);
To have and to hold, From this day forward,
For better, for worse, For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health, To love and to cherish,
'Till death do us part. (or, As long as we both shall live.)

If you prefer to write your own promises, perhaps you can take inspiration from these old irish vows:-

By the power that Christ brought from heaven, mayst thou love me.
As the sun follows its course, mayst thou follow me.
As light to the eye, as bread to the hungry, as joy to the heart,
May thy presence be with me,
Oh one that I love, `til death comes to part us asunder.